MAFS: The most controversial moments from the show over the years

Reality show Married At First Sight was controversial from the get go.

Having complete strangers "marry" without meeting or even laying eyes on each other before they walked down the aisle was the ultimate social experiment.

Married At First Sight logo
Married At First Sight is one of the most controversial shows on Australian TV.

In fact, before it launched in Australia, 15,000 people reportedly signed a petition to stop it being made as they thought it made a mockery of marriage.

However, since the marriages were not legal, the show went ahead and, with the ninth season about to hit our screens, we look back at the sensational dramas that rocked viewers and kept them tuning in.


Dean and Davina 'cheating'

Davina and Dean decide to hook up on Married at First Sight. Photo: Nine
Davina and Dean decide to hook up on Married at First Sight. Photo: Nine

Married at First Sight may have have been experimental during its first seasons, but the drama ramped up from season five in 2018.

Dean Wells and Davina Rankin became the first pair to rock the show with a cheating scandal.

They had both been married off to different partners, but when they found themselves attracted to each other, nothing was going to hold them back.

"I feel like you and I like each other more than anyone else in that room," Davina told Dean as the couple snuggled up on a sofa out of sight of everyone else.

Dean agreed.

The viewers, however, were furious at the duplicitous pair.

Things got heated between Cyrell and Martha

A producer stops Cyrell as she grabs Martha by her gown in the 2019 season of Married At First Sight. Cyrell wears black and has her back to the camera. Martha wears a light-coloured robe and is facing Cyrell. Art lines the walls. The producer grasps Cyrell's right forearm.
A producer steps in to stop Cyrell getting physical with Martha during their argument. Photo: Nine Network

Crew members had to step in to stop Cyrell and Martha's blow-up on season six of MAFS.

Cyrell grabbed Martha by her gown when a war of words escalated, but a producer quickly stepped in to stop things.

As Cyrell walked off she heard Martha laughing and smashed a fruit bowl, making for a very dramatic exit.

That wasn't the end of their feud.

During a dinner party, Martha told Ines: "I’m going to pour my drink on her! I am."

During 2019 Married At First Sight, Martha tips her glass of wine over Cyrell's head at the dinner party while the other diners are oblivious
Martha tips her glass of wine over Cyrell's head at the dinner party. Photo: Nine Network

Moments later she tipped her glass of red wine over Cyrell's head.

Things, of course, descended into mayhem with shouting, drink throwing and everyone getting involved, but overall there were definitely no winners!

Mel Shilling warns Bronson over use of a derogatory term

Bronson Norris sitting and listening as psychologist Mel Schilling reprimands him
Bronson gets told off by psychologist Mel Schilling for his use of language in MAFS 2019. Photo: Nine Network

During the first commitment ceremony in the 2019 season of the show, Bronson Norrish said his "wife" Ines Basic was "acting like a c***".

While his use of the derogatory word stunned all in the room, expert Mel Schilling was quick to admonish his language and call out the behaviour as soon as she heard it.

Many viewers were angry Mel had not called out Ines' behaviour towards Bronson, but she defended her actions on Talking Married.

"That language is inappropriate in any setting towards any person," she said.

"I'm going to call that out, whether it's a man or woman."

Fellow expert John Aiken added: "What's important to know is that the experts only see the dinner parties and commitment ceremonies, so we're dealing with what's in front of us."

Sam Ball and Ines' 'cheating' scandal

Dark-haired Ines Basic in bed with dark-haired and bearded Sam Ball in Married At First Sight 2019. Sam has tattoos on his left forearm and chest.
Sam and Ines thought they could hide their "affair" from their "spouses". Photo: Nine

The 2019 season of Married At First Sight continued to be a real soap opera and Sam and Ines had one of the most controversial storylines.

The couple hooked up behind the backs of their respective "spouses" after weeks of secret messages, meet-ups and flirting.

"They belong with each other," Sam's "wife" Elizabeth told TV WEEK after the show had aired.

"They would act sweet to my face and then tear me apart behind my back.

"I think they're disgusting."

Fans complain about worrying behaviour

Married At First Sight experts John Aiken, Mel Schilling and Alessandra Rampolla on the sofa during a commitment ceremony
Experts Alessandra Rampolla, Mel Schilling and John Aiken called out gaslighting behaviours on the 2021 season of MAFS. Photo: Nine Network

The Australian Communications and Media Authority reportedly received multiple complaints of toxic behaviour on the 2021 season.

Expert John Aitken even called it out on the show.

"There is the issue, and this has got to do with a behaviour James, which is classic, stereotypical gaslighting behaviour, and it's something that has to stop," John explained during James' and Jo's final commitment ceremony.

"When you try to have a conversation, you start to talk in circles, you start to deflect and dodge, put it back on to Jo.

"We got a close up look at it last night.

"We watched it for hours and hours.

"That behaviour is gaslighting and it is toxic and it hurts people close to you."

And more than 12,000 viewers signed a petition to get Channel Nine to apologise for the "triggering" scenes involving Bryce and Melissa.

However, the couple refuted the claim saying that it was the editing of the show that caused the concern and not their behaviour.

Married At First Sight returns to 9 and 9Now on on Monday, January 31.

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